Unbusy by Andy Dragt
I found myself in a flurry of activity. I was working, teaching and improv class, producing a 10-minute play festival, while at the same time planning for my retirement and doing the work of shifting my responsibilities over to others. I felt like I was drinking from a fire hose. In the midst of all this I had the opportunity to review Andy Dragt's book, "Unbusy." Perfect timing, I thought!
The premise of Dragt's book is that he uses the physics of flow to guide and organize his life. Basically, physics is the science of how things behave. Through physics we can explain the movement, connection, and behavior of all things. The more we understand how our own behavior, and thus our calendars, the more we can be in control of those outside influences that exert force and try to control our lives. The analogy Dragt most uses is that of water. Water at point A, the top of the mountain, wants to get to point B, the ocean. The most efficient way for it to get from point A to point B happens through physics.
Dragt writes that the book is not about time-management and how to get things done, it is about doing the right things. In order to help his reader make lasting change, he advises not to read his book straight through, but to pause after each chapter and do the work of mapping the changes you want to see in your life.
I have to admit that I was anxious to get to the meat of the book. The first three or four chapters were like a TV infomercial. I wanted him to stop explaining the problem and get to some solutions. I think part of my disconnect was his lengthy descriptions of actual water projects. It wasn't until chapter 6 that I got hooked. At the end of chapter 6 he writes, "You need a clear and compelling answer to the question, why you get up every morning and do what you do with your time." He goes on that if we do nothing, the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics says that chaos only increases. "Complexity and chaos increase without any effort at all. Which is why busyness is the status quo."
Dragt hits his stride when he brings out the flow chart. Our values flow through our purpose and lead out into our priorities. Becoming "unbusy" is not about how we organize our calendar or bullet journal, it's about what we value and how we prioritize. If you don't have a life purpose, you won't have goals, and without goals, we devolve into chaos. It's physics.
The surprise for me came in chapter 13, "Beware the arrow of time." I mentioned I was preparing for retirement when I began the book. At the time of this review, I've been retired one week. In chapter 13 Dragt writes that when "we eventually retire from the income-generating part of our 'work,' we don't want to stop offering the meaningful result of living out our purpose in the world." He reminds us that "leisure is not the same as freedom" and they will are always to pursue our purpose and live the life of our dreams.
If you want to organize your calendar, this book isn't for you. If you want to take stock of your life and chart your goals, passions, and priorities, you will find it most helpful.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the author and/or publisher through the Speakeasy blogging book review network. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR,Part 255.